Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Were ‘Awkward Questions’ Allowed at Putin’s Direct Line Broadcast Intended to Highlight Kremlin’s Self-Confidence or the Start of Perestroika 2.0? Savvin Asks

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 15 – The most striking and potentially important aspect of Vladimir Putin’s recent direct line broadcast were not the answers he gave but the questions that his political machine allowed Russians to pose in public, according to Dimitry Savvin, editor of the Riga-based conservative Russian portal, Harbin.

            The Kremlin apparatchiks have the ability to filter out questions they don’t want asked and so the ones they do allow tell a story, he argues, one especially intriguing because so many of the questions about the war and political changes in the future were so obviously “awkward” for Putin (t.me/dimitriy_savvin/3478 reposted at kasparov.ru/material.php?id=657C67476DF24).

            “Most likely,” Savvin suggests, the appearance of these questions was intended to highlight the Kremlin’s self-confidence, its belief that it can deal with any issue that comes up and that it needs to send a clear message that “we are not afraid of pressing questions and we hear people,” of course “within limits.”

            But because the appearance of such questions is likely to have an impact on many Russians who have not yet taken to posing them out of fears of the consequences if they do, it cannot be excluded that someone in the power vertical is thinking about the need for change and that these queries may represent “the first sign of Perestroika 2.0.”

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